Our son Alan, who is studying in the US, called my wife on Skype two nights ago. As they were talking, Dahl noticed that he was drinking something from what appeared like a beer bottle. “Alan, what are you drinking?” she asked. “Root beer, mommy” he answered. “Every time I miss Dad, I buy and drink a bottle of root beer.” (Isn’t that sweet?) Then he explained that when I first brought him to Massachusetts in 2010, we enjoyed several bottles of root beer. Well, it definitely is not a healthy habit, but drinking root beer is better than some nasty activity people engage in to combat homesickness.
The International Organization for Migration estimates that there are 214 million migrants all over the world today. People are on the move for various reasons; the most common being the availability of better employment opportunities elsewhere. This is true for Filipinos. The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency reports that in 2011 alone, more than 1.6 million overseas Filipino workers were deployed. That’s more than 4,000 Filipinos leaving the country every day!
Migration, for whatever reason and length of time, can be and has been a blessing to many. Economic benefit is the easiest to identify. However, there are tremendous costs as well. Homesickness is one reality that these 214 million migrants deal with. Sadly, many people succumb to temptations or suffer great pain or loss because of homesickness.
- My father had an affair with his secretary when he was working in Malaysia.
- My friend Jon gave up his graduate studies in the US because he missed his girlfriend in Manila so much.
- Others drown their misery with drugs, alcohol, gambling, and illicit sex.
- Even missionaries have left their field of assignment because of homesickness.
What can be done about homesickness? Well, what do you think? Please share your ideas in the comment box below. Someone, somewhere will benefit from your suggestions.
Don’t waste the opportunity that the Lord has given you to live in a cross-cultural setting.“Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him” (Psalms 105:4 NLT). He is the source of our strength. In fact, he is our strength. And with the strength the Lord gives, fulfill your high calling as a student, contract worker, immigrant, or missionary in a foreign land.
Going back to Dahl’s conversation with Alan, she asked, “So, what do you do when you miss me?” Without hesitation, he said, “I clean my room!”
She had to ask, right?